We had had a fairly long day in Paso Robles on our wine Travel adventure and had visited 5 wineries already…but I had heard about “First Saturdays: Wine & the Arts” in downtown Paso Robles. This is a program sponsored by Arts Obispo. From 5-8 pm on the first Saturday of each month year round this event happens in downtown Paso promoting artists, galleries, wine tasting room and other arts venues. http://artsobispo.org/content/FirstSaturdays.php
We were early, having just finished enjoying music and wine at Vines on the Marycrest and we wandered down to see what it was about. It was quiet at the top with several wine tasting rooms listed as having something special going on and being open later than usual. Some had special art showings, some had additional food. We knew we could just stop at one more tasting room and the beautiful Parrish Family Vineyards tasting room called to us.
They have one of the downtown tasting rooms located on Park Street just off of the square and…they are one of members of the new Paso Cab Collective.
The Parrish Family Estate is located outside of Atascadero and Paso. This area has warm days and cool evenings and here they have 40 acres of nothing but Cabernet Sauvignon.
They do source other varieties from other growers on the Central Coast and have their P.O. Box 1 label which is in honor of the family’s grandfather, Earl Henderson who had the very first PO Box in Atascadero. Here they play with other varietals like Sav Blanc and Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah.
The tasting room is beautiful and they had a pairing for the “Wine & the Arts” evening with cheeses from Vivant Cheese in Paso. I am a sucker for their cheeses. We had them once before at a tasting and pairing at Vino Robles and I was addicted to their “Barely Buzzed” cheese to accompany the Vino Verde Petite Sirah. If you are ever here, do the pairing! Okay back to this evening.
The pairings were amazing. We tasted:
2012 Sauvignon Blanc with a Honey Chevre (goats milk cheese)
2010 Chardonnay Monterey with Piave (cows milk cheese from Vento Italy)
2010 Pinot Noir Monterey with Bella Vitano Gold (Satori family gold winner)
2008 GSM Rhone Blend with Cocoa Cardona (goats milk cheese dusted in cocoa)
2009 Petite Sirah with 2 year Gouda (dutch aged cheese)
2007 Reserve Silken Iberico (spanish cheese with cow, sheep and goat milk)
2007 Reserve Cabernet Estate rustic cocoa nib cookie
As we were tasting the 2007 Cabernet, Mr. Parrish came to our end of the bar and apologized for neglecting us. He said he had opened a bottle of the 2009 that is for wine club members only and he would like to offer us an additional tasting of that. This wine was a gold medal winner in San Francisco. I inquired as to how 2009 had been for them in the vineyard and he said he was lucky enough to pick just before the rain. A system came through with quite a bit of rain less than 24 hours after they finished picking. I asked how rain typically affected them, of course with the berries swelling and diluting the flavors that was an issue, but how did it affect the native yeasts? If it rained did it wash those away and create issues? Mr. Parrish is a UC Davis graduate and does not use native yeasts. He believes that you have a greater possibility percentage wise of getting off putting flavors and aromas from the native yeasts. We spoke a bit about Brett and while like me he doesn’t mind a little brett on a wine, from a winemakers perspective, it can be really hard to control. Brett is very resistant to sulphur and Brett can overpower a wine if it is aged. He is fine with a little brett if you are going to enjoy the wine while it is young. If however you are going to cellar a wine (as one is wont to do with a good cab) brett can be a bit of a wild card as to what you will get when you open that bottle. It was fascinating to speak with him and get one winemakers perspective on this. And what a perfect way to end our day, having a wine-geeky conversation with a winemaker. I was content.